Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has said the state would not hesitate to act against the Sanatan Sanstha if any evidence was found against the organisation.
“I understand that the Central government did not take any decision on a report sent by the Maharashtra government in 2011 that recommended that the Sanatan Sanstha be banned,” Fadnavis told The Indian Express.
The demand to ban the Sanstha has gained momentum since one of its activists, Sameer Gaikwad, was arrested last month in connection with the murder of rationalist Govind Pansare. Fadnavis said he would wait for the report of the police investigation to decide on action against the Sanstha.
The state would do its work, he said. “If there is evidence, the government will act. If not, then I will not come under anyone’s pressure to act. To the earlier report of the Prithviraj Chavan government, the Centre said there was no evidence. It did not ban the Sanatan Sanstha.
The state will show ‘no fear, no favour’ in deciding based on evidence,” Fadnavis said.
When contacted, former Maharashtra CM Prithviraj Chavan said, “We (the Congress-NCP government) had made a formal request in April 2011 to ban the organisation as per provisions provided under Section 3 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. The Centre has kept it pending. The then Union home minister had sought more information. Technically, it has not been rejected yet.”
When asked if agendas such as the ban on beef affected foreign investor sentiment, Fadnavis said that nobody had questioned him on the matter during his overseas trips. “Never. Basically, 70 per cent of beef that the Qureshi community exports is water buffaloes. It was the case earlier too.”
Nor would non-availability of certain food products affect foreign investors, Fadnavis said. Foxconn had decided to invest $5 billion, he pointed out. “Further, General Motors is investing $1 billion, POSCO is investing $4 billion.”
According to him, no farmer wants to sell his cow and bullocks. “For those in distress, we set up cattle camps.” He also pointed to the directive principles of state policy in the Constitution mandating that cow progeny be safeguarded. “How can you criticise me for abiding by the Constitution?” he said.
The Chief Minister also sought to link farm distress to protection of cows. “The bigger issue today is the way the country’s agricultural scenario has worsened. It is because of the use of chemicals. Using organic manure alone leads to sustainable crops. On one side, we say undertake organic farming, and on the other allow cow slaughter,” he said.
The Maharashtra CM also played down the controversy over the meat ban (during the Jain festival of Paryushan), noting that it was the handiwork of previous governments.
“There has been no government resolution on this after our government came to power. Not a single communication from our government has been sent to any municipal corporation. After the 2004 GR, every year, meat was not consumed for four days. In Mira-Bhayandar, a group did call for extending it to eight days. But it didn’t happen in Mira-Bhayandar also,” he said.